Perspectives on employers’ expectations on tertiary education graduates’ employability skills in Eastern Cape, South Africa
Keywords:Employability, Skills, Expectations, Employers, Graduates, South Africa
Given that undergraduates, graduates and tertiary institutions of higher learning are uncertain Given that undergraduates, graduates, and tertiary institutions of higher learning are uncertain regarding the expectations of employers in the work organizations on the skill that graduates possess, the study presented in this paper attempts to provide some meaningful clues in that directions. The study followed a research question that interrogates what employability skills employers expect graduates to possess for an entry-level job. Designed as a descriptive study, a quantitative research approach was chosen, where the survey method of data collection was employed through a closed-ended structured questionnaire. The study targeted employers (managers) of public and private work organizations in the health and education sectors in a South African town Mthatha, from where a sample of 41 participants (representing organizations) was drawn. The study employed a stratified random sampling in selecting the participants, which ensured that the principle of selecting representatives of the target population was met. Data collected from the participants were analyzed by the use of selected descriptive tools. The analyzed data revealed that all employers expect graduates to possess all the 13 skill areas that employees require to function in the workplace. Surprisingly, the employers mostly expect least from the young graduates in terms of quantitative skills and leadership capabilities. While this finding corroborates what exists in the literature, it provides a new dimension with regard to priority skills needed by employers in the South African labor market. The study, therefore, recommends that the work organizations and higher institutions of learning should form a partnership and a close relationship so that they can assist one another in building the employability skills of graduates.
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